This week's Beer of the Week is Fulton's Worthy Adversary, a Russian imperial stout that makes its seasonal debut at the brewery this Saturday.
"The Worthy Adversary is an interesting beer for us," says Fulton co-founder and co-owner Brian Hoffman. "With most of our year-round and seasonal beers, our approach has always been that complexity and balance and approachability are not mutually exclusive. We wanted to make this beer true to style but still make it so that no one flavor overtakes the beer. We wanted a balance of all the characteristics that go into a Russian imperial stout."
They certainly achieved just that. The near-black stout has a strong roasted malt presence, undertones of chocolate and licorice, an almost sticky finish, and as rebellious a spirit as any beer can have. Hoffman revealed that in the case of this particular beer, the name came before the recipe, style, or anything else.
"We're big Big Lebowski
fans," Hoffman explains. "Back in our home brewing days we heard that quote by Walter in this little monologue he does
inThe Big Lebowski
and thought 'that would be a great beer name.' Everything else came after that. This is the beer in the black pajamas, so to speak."
Hoffman wouldn't give away all the trade secrets, but he did say they make the Worthy Adversary with a bittering hop addition of Magnum and Hercules hops, and use a blend of roast barley and white wheat, midnight wheat, and chocolate malt to create the different layers in this stout.
Stout, as always, makes a wonderful pairing for food. "Desserts are kind of the obvious alignment with this one," says Hoffman. "My go to is to use it with a scoop of good ice cream as a float and that's it. But it's great with savory things too: coffee-crusted venison, braised meats, anything rich, really."
Even if you don't make it to the brewery for the release this Saturday, keep your eyes peeled because Worthy Adversary will start popping up at stores and bars early next week. Hoffman also hints that they'll make some special firkins (think macadamia and toasted coconut) with this one before they switch to War and Peace later in February.
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